[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee (now Council) of the Township of Jackson 10-23-2000 by Ord. No. 29-00 (Ch. 36 of the 1972 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 162.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 204.
Housing standards — See Ch. 233.
Noise — See Ch. 291.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided an effective date of 1-1-2001.
The purpose of this chapter is to encourage alarm users and alarm businesses to maintain the operational reliability and proper use of alarm systems and to reduce or eliminate false alarm dispatch requests.
This chapter governs systems intended to summon police response, requires permits, provides for penalties for violations, establishes a system of administration and sets conditions for suspension or loss of permits.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM ADMINISTRATOR
- A person or persons designated by the governing authority to administer, control and review alarm applications, permits and alarm dispatch requests.
- ALARM BUSINESS
- The business, by an individual, partnership, corporation or other entity, of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving, installing or monitoring an alarm system in an alarm site.
- ALARM DISPATCH REQUEST
- A notification to the police by the alarm business that an alarm, either manual or automatic, has been activated at a particular alarm site.
- ALARM REVIEW BOARD
- Shall consist of five members as follows: the alarm administrator, a dispatcher or other person appointed by the Chief/Director, a local alarm business representative appointed by the Local Alarm Association/Chamber of Commerce and two members of the public at large, appointed by the governing authority.
- ALARM SITE
- A single premises or location served by an alarm system or systems. Each tenancy, if served by a separate alarm system, in a multitenant building or complex shall be considered a separate alarm site.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- A device or series of devices, including, but not limited to, systems interconnected with radio frequency signals, which are designed to discourage crime or alert to fire danger by emitting or transmitting a remote or local audible, visual or electronic signal indicating an alarm condition. "Alarm system" does not include:
- ALARM USER
- Any person, firm, partnership, corporation or other entity who (which) uses an alarm system at its alarm site.
- The Chief of Police or the Director of Public Safety of the municipality or an authorized representative.
- The transaction or process by which one alarm business begins monitoring of an alarm system previously monitored by another alarm business.
- DURESS ALARM
- A silent alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a crisis situation requiring police response.
- FALSE ALARM DISPATCH
- An alarm dispatch request to the Police or Fire Department, when the responding police officer or fire personnel finds no evidence of a criminal offense, attempted criminal offense or signs of smoke, fire or other such condition, including weather conditions, after having completed a timely investigation of the alarm site. An alarm dispatch request, which is canceled by the alarm business or the alarm user prior to the time the responding officer reaches the alarm site, shall not be considered a false alarm dispatch.
- FALSE ALARM USER AWARENESS CLASS
- A class operated by the governing entity for the purpose of educating alarm users about the problems created by false alarm dispatches and in the responsible use of their alarm system.
- HOLDUP ALARM
- A silent alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a robbery in progress.
- A device that allows control of an alarm system by the manual entering of a coded sequence of numbers or letters.
- The process by which an alarm business receives signals from alarm systems and relays an alarm dispatch request to the municipality for the purpose of summoning police response to the alarm site.
- ONE-PLUS DURESS ALARM
- The manual activation of a silent alarm signal by entering at a keypad a code that adds one to the last digit of the normal arm/disarm code (e.g., normal code = 1234; one-plus duress code = 1235).
- An individual, corporation, partnership, association, organization or similar entity.
- The transaction or process by which an alarm user takes over control of an existing alarm system which was previously controlled by another alarm user.
- An attempt, by the alarm business or its representative, to contact the alarm site by telephonic or other electronic means, whether or not actual contact with a person is made, before requesting a police dispatch, in an attempt to avoid an unnecessary alarm dispatch request.
No alarm user shall operate, or cause to be operated, an alarm system at its alarm site without first obtaining a valid electrical or fire permit and passing an inspection by the Jackson Township Building Department, in accordance with the Uniform Construction Code.
No alarm user shall operate, or cause to be operated, an alarm system at its alarm site without a valid alarm permit issued by the alarm administrator.
Upon receipt of a completed application form, the alarm administrator shall issue an alarm permit to an applicant unless the applicant has:
Each permit application must include the following information:
The name, address and telephone numbers of the person who will be the permit holder and be responsible for the proper maintenance and operation of the alarm system.
The classification of the alarm site as either residential, commercial or apartment.
For each alarm system located at the alarm site, the purpose of the alarm system, i.e., burglary, holdup, duress, fire or other.
Signed certification from the alarm user and the alarm business stating:
The date of installation, conversion or takeover of the alarm system, whichever is applicable;
The name, address and phone number of the alarm business performing the alarm system installation, conversion or alarm system takeover and responsible for providing repair service to the alarm system;
The name, address and phone number of the alarm business monitoring the alarm system if different from the installing alarm business;
That a set of written operating instructions for the alarm system, including written guidelines on how to avoid false alarms, has been left with the applicant; and
That the alarm business has trained the applicant in proper use of the alarm system, including instructions on how to avoid false alarms.
Classification of the alarm site as being equipped or nonequipped for duress alarm.
Any false statement of a material matter made by an applicant for the purpose of obtaining an alarm permit shall be sufficient cause for refusal to issue a permit.
An alarm permit cannot be transferred to another person. An alarm user shall inform the alarm administrator of any change that alters any information listed on the permit application within five business days.
Information contained in permit applications shall be held in confidence by all employees or representatives of the municipality with access to such information.
If an alarm system installed by an individual tenant in an apartment complex unit is monitored, the tenant must provide the name of a representative of the apartment owner or property manager who can grant access to the apartment to the alarm business which is providing the monitoring service.
A tenant of an apartment complex shall also obtain an alarm permit from the alarm administrator before operating or causing the operation of an alarm system in the tenant's residential unit.
For purposes of enforcing this chapter against an individual residential unit, the tenant is responsible for false alarm dispatches emitted from the alarm system in the tenant's residential unit.
If the owner or property manager of an apartment complex provides alarm systems in each residential unit as an amenity, then the owner or property manager of the apartment complex shall obtain a master alarm permit from the alarm administrator.
For purposes of assessing fines and enforcing this chapter, the master alarm permit holder is responsible for payment of fines for false alarm dispatches emitted from the alarm systems in residential units.
The owner or property manager of an apartment complex shall obtain a separate alarm permit for any alarm system operated in a nonresidential area of the apartment complex, including, but not limited to, common tenant areas and office, storage and equipment areas.
[Amended 11-25-2002 by Ord. No. 49-02]
A permit shall be valid unless and until revoked or suspended in accordance with the terms of this chapter. A new permit shall, however, be required at the time of a conversion or takeover of the alarm system, whichever is applicable.
An alarm user shall:
Maintain the premises and the alarm system in a manner that will minimize or eliminate false alarm dispatches; and
Make every reasonable effort to respond or cause a representative to respond to the alarm system's location within one hour when notified by the municipality to deactivate a malfunctioning alarm system, to provide access to the premises or to provide security for the premises; and
Not manually activate an alarm for any reason other than an occurrence of an event that the alarm system was intended to report.
An alarm user shall adjust the mechanism or cause the mechanism to be adjusted so that an alarm signal audible on the exterior of an alarm site will sound for no longer than 10 minutes after being activated (or 15 minutes for systems operating under Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., Standards 365 or 609).
An alarm user shall have a properly licensed alarm business inspect his alarm system after three false alarm dispatches in a one-year period. After three false alarm dispatches, the alarm user must have a properly licensed alarm business modify the alarm system to be more false-alarm resistant or provide additional user training as appropriate.
An alarm business performing monitoring services shall:
Not request dispatch for police response during the first week after installation of an alarm system, but rather use that week to train the alarm user on proper use of the alarm system unless extenuating circumstances necessitate immediate requests for response as determined by the alarm administrator.
Report alarm signals by using telephone numbers designated by the alarm administrator.
Attempt to verify every alarm signal, except a duress alarm or holdup alarm, before requesting a police response to an alarm signal.
Communicate alarm dispatch requests to the municipality in a manner and form determined by the alarm administrator.
Communicate verified cancellations of alarm dispatch requests to the municipality in a manner and form determined by the alarm administrator.
Ensure that all alarm users of alarm systems equipped with duress alarm are given adequate training as to the proper use of the duress alarm.
Alarm businesses shall not program alarm systems so that they are capable of sending one-plus duress alarms. When performing a takeover or conversion, an alarm business must remove the one-plus duress alarm capability from the alarm system being taken over or converted.
Alarm businesses shall not install any devices for activating a holdup alarm, which is a single-action nonrecessed button.
An alarm user shall maintain at each alarm site a set of written operating instructions for each alarm system.
The telecommunicator responding to an alarm dispatch request shall record such information as necessary to permit the alarm administrator to maintain records, including, but not limited to, the following information:
Identification of the permit number for the alarm site, when available.
Identification of the alarm site.
Arrival time at the alarm site and dispatch received time.
Date and time.
Area and/or subarea of premises involved.
Name of alarm user's representative on premises, if any.
Identification of the responsible alarm business.
Unable to locate the address.
The responding police officer shall advise the telecommunicator to indicate on the dispatch record whether the alarm dispatch was caused by a criminal offense, an attempted criminal offense, or was weather-related (thunder and/or lightning) or appears as a false alarm dispatch.
In the case of an assumed false alarm dispatch, the responding police officer shall leave notice at the alarm site that the Police Department has responded to a false alarm dispatch. The notice shall include the following information:
Alarm businesses which perform monitoring services must maintain records relating to a request for police dispatch to an alarm site for a period of at least one year. Records must include the name, address and phone number of the alarm user, the alarm system zone(s) or point(s) activated, the time of request for police dispatch and evidence that an attempt to verify was made to the alarm site prior to the request for police dispatch. The alarm administrator may request copies of such records for individually named alarm users.
If there is reason to believe that an alarm system is not being used or maintained in a manner that ensures proper operation and suppresses false alarms, the alarm administrator may require a conference with an alarm user and the alarm business responsible for the repair of the alarm system to review the circumstances of each false alarm.
The alarm administrator shall oversee the creation and implementation of a false alarm user awareness class. The two-hour program shall inform alarm users of the problems created by false alarm dispatches and teach alarm users how to operate alarm systems without generating false alarm dispatches.
This class will not be specific to any type of alarm system, merely techniques or actions on the part of the alarm user to eliminate false alarm dispatches. The class will be modeled from information received from the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and the False Alarm Reduction Association.
An alarm user or the master permit holder for an apartment complex shall be subject to fines, warnings and suspension or revocation of permit depending on the number of false alarm dispatches emitted from an alarm system within a twelve-month period based upon the following schedule:
Fines are to be paid within 30 days of receipt of notification.
In addition, any person operating a nonpermitted alarm system (whether revoked, suspended or never acquired) will be subject to a citation and assessment of a $50 fine for each false alarm dispatch, in addition to any other fines. The alarm administrator may waive this additional fine for a nonpermitted system if the alarm user applies for a permit within 10 days after such violation.
An alarm user shall, after the third false alarm dispatch, have the option of attending a false alarm user awareness class in lieu of paying the prescribed fine.
Alarm dispatch requests caused by actual criminal offense or with evidence of a criminal attempt, or deemed caused by weather-related conditions, shall not be counted as a false alarm dispatch.
An alarm user may appeal assessment of a fine to the Alarm Review Board by filing a written request for hearing setting forth the reasons for the appeal within 10 days after receipt of the fine. The filing of a request for an appeal hearing with the Alarm Review Board stays the assessment of the fine until the Alarm Review Board makes a final decision.
The Alarm Review Board shall conduct a formal hearing and consider the evidence by any interested person(s). The Board shall make its decision on the basis of the preponderance of evidence presented at the hearing, including, but not limited to, evidence that a false alarm dispatch was caused by a defective part that has been repaired or replaced or that an alarm dispatch request was caused by a criminal offense. The Board must render a decision within 30 days after the request for an appeal hearing is filed. The Board shall affirm, reverse or modify the assessment of the fine. The decision of the Board is final as to administrative remedies with the municipality.
In addition to suspension or revocation pursuant to § 80-14, the alarm administrator may suspend or revoke an alarm permit if it is determined that:
A person commits an offense if he operates an alarm system during the period in which his alarm permit is suspended or revoked.
Unless there is separate indication that there is a crime in progress, the Chief/Director may refuse police response to an alarm dispatch request at an alarm site for which the alarm permit is revoked.
If the alarm administrator denies the issuance or renewal of a permit, or suspends or revokes a permit, he or she shall send written notice of his action and a statement of the right to an appeal, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to both the applicant or alarm user and the alarm business. The applicant or alarm user may appeal the decision of the alarm administrator to the Chief/Director by filing a written request for a review setting forth the reasons for the appeal within 20 days after receipt of the notice from the alarm administrator. An alarm business may submit the request for review on behalf of an alarm user. Filing of a request for appeal shall stay the action by the alarm administrator suspending or revoking a permit until the Chief/Director has completed his/her review. If a request for appeal is not made within the twenty-day period, the action of the Chief/Director is final.
Alarm users shall be entitled to a hearing before the Alarm Review Board, if requested within 20 days of receipt of notice of a sustained denial or revocation of permit by the Chief/Director. An alarm business may submit a request for hearing on behalf of an alarm user.
The Alarm Review Board shall conduct a formal hearing and consider the evidence by any interested person(s). The Board shall make its decision on the basis of a preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing, including, but not limited to, certification that alarm users have been retrained, that a defective part has been repaired or replaced or that the cause of the false alarm has been otherwise determined and corrected. The Board must render a written decision within 30 days after the request for an appeal hearing is filed. The Board shall affirm, reverse or modify the action of the Chief/Director. The decision of the Board is final as to administrative remedies with the municipality.
A person whose alarm permit has been revoked may be issued a new permit if the person:
Submits an updated application; and
Pays, or otherwise resolves, all citations and fines; and
Submits a certification from an alarm business that complies with the requirements of this chapter, stating that the alarm system has been inspected and repaired (if necessary) by the alarm business.
A person commits an offense if he violates, by commission or omission, any provision of this chapter that imposes upon him a duty or responsibility and is subject to a fine of not more than $50 for each offense.